Tourism is a very competitive market which can make it difficult to grow your business. Social media can be a great way of communicating with your customers, reminding them how great your business is and helping you reach a larger audience. These 6 tips will help you to use social media successfully.
1. Share, share, share!
A great way to grab your audience’s attention is to show them that you’re the expert in your field and the easiest way to do this is to offer free information. Share information on the best local spots, showcase helpful offers, provide “how to get around” guides for different locations and so on to become their virtual tour guide.
Potential visitors will turn to social media and internet research at the very beginning of their decision making process. Even before they are ready to book they will be looking for the information they may need. If they find out what they need to know from you, you will be at the top of their list of people to talk to when they are ready to book. Thomas Cook UK have an effective Facebook page where they engage with their audience through guides, tips and features on the different destinations they travel to.
2. Make the most of Instagram
Instagram is a highly effective social media tool and produces high engagement for travel and tourism businesses. You want all aspects of your tourism business to look desirable on Instagram so that you create wanderlust and holiday envy to encourage your customers to book.
Use high quality images and pick your Hashtags carefully so that you optimise the reach of your posts. Follow and use general Hashtags like #traveltuesday as well as creating your own. Virgin Holidays create beautiful photos of their destinations on their Instagram account and center them around their #dreambigger.
3. Ask for recommendations
Whilst social media may have changed the face of marketing, recommendations are still marketing gold. Don’t be afraid to proactively contact your customers to review your services and gather recommendations. Some businesses are worried about asking for recommendations because they fear receiving a negative response. This may happen but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Responding quickly, professionally and transparently can show your company in a good light.
The majority of your customers will understand that sometimes things can go wrong – how you handle it can turn a negative customer into your biggest advocate. Realistically the majority of reviews you receive should be positive and these can be shared across social media. TripAdvisor has 200 new contributions posted a minute which suggests that tourism customers are happy to share.
4. Listen to conversations
The key to success with social media is being social and that begins with listening to your existing and potential customers. Research your keywords and use sites like Hootsuite to monitor the conversations around them. If someone is asking a question that you can answer then join in the conversation with them and help them out. If you provide a service in a specific area then adding geotags to your search can help you to also be really specific about the help you can offer.
5. Build a blog
The experiences in travel and tourism really lend themselves to blogging. Travellers want to share their different adventures and a good blog is often shared across social media. Blogs can be used to provide info, i.e. Top 10 Dog Friendly Hotels or “How to” guides, to show off your expertise or to showcase a company’s services.
Travel company Mr & Mrs Smith have a successful blog which covers all different aspects of the services that they offer as well as general information on particular destinations and helpful tips. They also regularly use guest bloggers to increase their reach.
Social media competitions can be a really effective way to increase your audience and awareness of your tourism business. Competitions are popular and frequently shared on social media. Comments on posts to enter are seen by others and they are also tempted to join in.
Select Cornwall regularly run competitions for free weekends or short breaks. They recently ran a Valentine’s Day competition on Facebook which has received over 5,600 likes and over 7,000 shares. There are lots of different ways to offer something for free but always make sure that you check the guidelines for each platform.